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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#18: American Goldfinch - Durham, NC

Around here, the American Goldfinch is an astonishingly common bird, albeit one that’s rather skittish. I’ve been birding in an area that otherwise seemed to contain no avian life when one wrong step led to a flock of forty or fifty previously unseen canary yellow birds exploding from tall grasses nearby. As such, it’s hard to get a picture of these guys. Maybe it’s because they realize they’re brightly citrine, but perhaps it’s just because they enjoy flying in that trademark erratic flight path they like so much.

In any case, I never thought I’d get a really good picture of an American Goldfinch. Usually I’d walk up the path from my house to see one or two flush from the gardens on the side of the road. Totally hopeless. But then, on exactly one occasion, I had a goldfinch act in an entirely un-goldfinch-like fashion. It was around the same time I managed to photograph the Northern Cardinal from the previous post, so maybe the birds were just feeling rather friendly that day.

American Goldfinch - Durham, NC; 06/16/2010

I heard him first, as I often do. A rolling, tumbling song emanated from the neighbor’s yard, and I went over to investigate. Along the side of the road, in a stately crepe myrtle bush, sat a male American Goldfinch chattering away at no one in particular. He sat about eight feet up, a little taller than I am, so I stood on my tip-toes, the camera in my extended hand, and just barely I was able to snap this shot of the one American Goldfinch that didn’t seem to care I was around. And how sweet it was.


  1. Very cool! The best A. Goldfinch photos I've ever obtained were by sitting in the middle of a huge patch of wild sunflowers and just waiting.

  2. @Birding is Fun! - Thanks man. That's a darn good strategy for photographing goldfinches... I'd try it out, but I can't think of anywhere around here with sunflowers!